Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shakyamuni Buddha - Shakyamuni

ཤཱཀྱ་ཐུབ་པ། 释迦牟尼佛
(item no. 151)
Origin Location China
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Uncertain
Size 54.61x35.56cm (21.50x14in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Shelley & Donald Rubin
Catalogue # acc.# P1994.8.11
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Buddha

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Shakyamuni Buddha (Tibetan: sha kya tu pa, sang gye. English: the Enlightened One, Sage of the Shakya Clan): accompanied by the two bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara and Maitreya standing at the sides.

Sanskrit: Buddha Shakyamuni Tibetan: Sang gye sha kya tu pa

Seated in a traditional posture, relaxed in a meditative gaze, the right arm is outstretched across the knee with the fingers pointed downward toward the ground in the Earth Touching mudra (gesture). The left hand placed in the lap with the palm upward is in the mudra of meditation. The black hair curled in small tufts culminates on the crown of the head in a large mound (Sanskrit: ushnisha), the crown of that adorned with a single gold ornament. The earlobes are long and pierced; the neck adorned with the beauty marks of three horizontal lines. With the right arm bare he wears a bright red patchwork upper robe, constructed from discarded strips of cloth and an orange lower garment. In vajra posture with the right leg over left, he sits above a white moon disc, multi-coloured lotus and a tiered throne, surrounded by thin bands of radiant light forming a nimbus and areola; green leaves and foliage form a canopy above.

Standing at the left is the bodhisattva Arya Avalokiteshvara, white in colour, with one face and two hands both held to the heart grasping the stems of two white lotus flowers blossoming over each shoulder. An additional pink blossom is held in the left hand. With black hair tied in a topknot and adorned with a crown of gold and jewel ornaments, he wears a long green scarf and a lower garment of various colours; standing atop a moon disc and lotus flower.

At the right is the Bodhisattva and future buddha, Arya Maitreya, orange, with one face and two hands held to the heart grasping the stems of two lotus flowers blossoming over each shoulder, the right supporting a gold water flask. Adorned with gold, jewels and colourful silks he stands in a relaxed manner atop a moon disc and lotus seat. A decorative frame of red, green, brown and orange bands - reminiscent of the outer edge of a rock carved niche surrounds the three figures. At the top right and left corners six white heavenly figures sing praises and scatter flower petals as an offering.

Jeff Watt 8-99

Related Items
Publication: Leaves from the Bodhi Tree
Publication: Tibetan Paintings

Thematic Sets
Shakyamuni Buddha: Main Page
Contemporary: Copy #6
Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin (Buddhas)
Painting Style: Qianlong Period Painting Style
Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin